Government needs to set its priority when budgeting.
PHILIPSBURG:— MP Frans Richardson made his intentions known during the Central Committee budget hearing on Monday when he informed Parliament that even though he is supporting government he will not be used as a rubber stamp to pass unrealistic budgets. MP Richardson who is also the leader of the USP made clear that if the 2018 budget when presented the end of 2017 is not realistic it will not get his support whether or not he is supporting the government.
MP Richardson posed several questions to the Minister of Finance Richard Gibson Sr who presented the draft 2017 budget to parliament on Monday morning.
Richardson posed several questions regarding the cuts in the Justice Ministry and other Ministries. He asked the Minister of Finance to give parliament a break down on the cuts and how the elderly and culture is affected by these cuts.
MP Richardson further stated that while St. Maarten is a tourism destination the Ministry that suffers the most cuts each year is the Ministry of TEATT. He said that Government needs to get its priority straight because tourism is the country sole source of income and if the country does not market its product well overseas then government will not be able to meet its needs such as having the monies for education and other needs met.
The Minister of Finance Richardson Gibson Sr in his presentation outlined the need to diversify the economy in order to boost the economy. He said the Pearl of China is one of the projects that will bring much-needed monies to the country through trade. Minister Gibson also made clear that the St. Maarten Harbor Group of Companies lost USD9M last year, he said that government should be more involved with government-owned companies because unless there is a shareholder meeting, government is not informed about the loss monies from these companies. Another point the Minister of Finance made is the need for government-owned companies such as PJIAE to pay its dividends to government despite their financial state.
Source: St. Martin News Network
MP Frans Richardson sounded the alarm bell on 2018 budget.